Singapore to require operating licenses for Yahoo

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Singapore to require operating licenses for Yahoo

Postby raysusan » Wed May 29, 2013 9:43 am

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Singapore isn't necessarily known for its generous media freedoms, but the Southeast Asian city-state is planning to tighten the reigns even further next month. Beginning June 1st, any online news outlet with more than 50,000 unique monthly visitors within Singapore that also reports on the country at least once each week will need to obtain an operating license from the Media Development Authority. According to a press release, the objective of such a policy, which already covers print publications, is to "provide greater clarity" when it comes to text and visual media the government will not allow to be published, such as "content that undermines racial or religious harmony." The agency's release lists a total of 10 online publications that will be affected by the new policy, including sg.news.yahoo.com, businesstimes.com.sg and straitstimes.com. According to a Reuters report, blogs are currently excluded, though we could see stricter regulation on that front in the future.

http://www.engadget.com/2013/05/28/sing ... gle+Reader

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Re: Singapore to require operating licenses for Yahoo

Postby Dora1 » Wed May 29, 2013 10:02 am

This is really the most senseless move from the government. As long as the site is not from a SG server, no .com.sg the Singapore gov has no legal power against them. Other than irking the younger generations of Singaporeans, it does not serve any purpose. Maybe they want the internet to behave like the Straits Times and LianHe Zaobao huh?? :stupid:

Unless they want to follow the footsteps of china, ban facebook and youtube.

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Re: Singapore to require operating licenses for Yahoo

Postby ChiefKiasu » Wed May 29, 2013 4:27 pm

This new regulation actually covers much more than just Yahoo. Any website "with more than 50,000 unique monthly visitors within Singapore that also reports on the country at least once each week" is so nebulous that it covers almost every website with good following. What constitutes a "report on the country"? Is an announcement of MOE not naming top scorers a "report on the country"? What about reports or summaries of reports? Is that counted?

This is the clearest indication of government action reigning in social media. And I think this is just the beginning.

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Re: Singapore to require operating licenses for Yahoo

Postby raysusan » Wed May 29, 2013 5:15 pm

NSP: New Internet Media Regulation a Step Backwards

The National Solidarity Party (NSP) is deeply concerned by the Media Development Authority's (MDA) announcement on the 28th of May, of a new regulatory regime for internet media companies that regularly report on Singapore news.

It is puzzling that at a time when it should be promoting more open and frank discussion about national issues, the Government has instead seen fit to increase regulation on a media landscape that is already tightly controlled.

Furthermore this is a curious move because according to the MDA itself, online media companies are already subject to regulatory requirements and it expects no change in content standards as a result of the new regulation.

The MDA should clarify why, if existing regulation has been able to ensure acceptable content standards, new regulation is required.

Three aspects of the new regulatory regime are especially troubling:

1. Takedown rule

While giving itself the authority to demand the takedown of articles containing "prohibited content" within 24 hours, the MDA has not clearly spelt out what constitutes such prohibited content. In its press statement it cited content that is prejudicial to racial harmony. This is an obvious and non-controversial instance of the takedown rule being applied. One wonders if this rule will also be extended to articles critical of government policy, articles tagged with reader comments that are critical of the government and articles that generally express opinions contrary to prevailing political wisdom.

We therefore call on the MDA to clearly articulate the instances in which it may invoke this authority, as well as make transparent which person or group of persons within its organization is empowered to exercise discretion in the application of this authority.

2. Performance bond

We are concerned that the $50,000 performance bond is calculated to have a disciplining effect on media organizations that may then exercise self-censorship in the first instance, rather than risk incurring financial penalty.

$50,000 is also a potentially high barrier to entry for burgeoning independent news outlets to operate and flourish. The effect of this barrier will ultimately be a diminution of our civil discourse and narrowing the language of our thought.

3. Qualifying Requirements

Finally, the minimum qualifying requirements of one published article a week over a two-month period and a traffic base of at least 50,000 unique users may discourage international news organizations from reporting Singapore news regularly for fear of becoming subject to the new regulations themselves.

~

Whither our National Conversation?

Taken together, the NSP believes that the spirit and the conditions of the new regulation will have a regressive effect on the development of the local media industry and the quality of journalism at large in our country.

While the Government has made much of its intention to be more open and engaged with the citizenry, by this latest move, we cannot help but be left with the feeling that it has merely been paying lip service to the notion of a National Conversation.

Hazel Poa
Secretary-General
On behalf of the Central Executive Committee

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Re: Singapore to require operating licenses for Yahoo

Postby Dora1 » Wed May 29, 2013 5:22 pm

ChiefKiasu wrote:This new regulation actually covers much more than just Yahoo. Any website "with more than 50,000 unique monthly visitors within Singapore that also reports on the country at least once each week" is so nebulous that it covers almost every website with good following. What constitutes a "report on the country"? Is an announcement of MOE not naming top scorers a "report on the country"? What about reports or summaries of reports? Is that counted?

This is the clearest indication of government action reigning in social media. And I think this is just the beginning.

They are seriously toeing a very fine line here. If this is not handled properly, it may seriously irk a large number internet savvy younger generation and backfire on them. In the first place, there is NO WAY they can reign in the social media, unless they implement a national firewall like China.

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Re: Singapore to require operating licenses for Yahoo

Postby hquek » Wed May 29, 2013 5:24 pm

ummm, is KSP going to be affected? Answer: NO

got news here what, and figure got a lot of traffic even if not that many pp post.

..........................

:oops: sorry never read the actual news. those that are affected listed in the article. :oops:

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Re: Singapore to require operating licenses for Yahoo

Postby raysusan » Thu May 30, 2013 8:04 am

It is with deep regret that the SDP learns that the Government is going to amend the Broadcasting Act to require news websites to register with the Media Development Authority.

This is a regressive step which will have the effect of impeding the free flow of information and the development of a free and pluralistic media in Singapore.

Freedom of the press is a right of the people that the Government must respect. It is crucial to building a system that is transparent and democratically accountable. Singaporeans have expressed their desire for greater political space and a free online media will greatly contribute to achieving that end.

On the economic front, Singapore has come to a stage where we can, and must, have a more open society. This will help to encourage critical thinking which will, in turn, encourage an innovative culture to take root. This process is essential for the sustainability of our economic development.

Unfortunately, the latest move to tighten online media will do the opposite, that is, the measure will have the tendency to breed more fear and conformist behaviour. This will put Singapore at a further disadvantage when it comes to our competitiveness on the global stage.

At the same time, the Government should realise that efforts to rein in the Internet will not succeed. The introduction of this policy will simply make Singaporeans more determined to use the new media as a news source as well as to push for greater media freedom.

The SDP, therefore, calls on the PAP Government to respect the rights of Singaporeans and reconsider its decision to place restrictions on news websites.



Dr Chee Soon Juan
Secretary-General of Singapore's Democratic Party

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Re: Singapore to require operating licenses for Yahoo

Postby polkajane » Wed Jun 05, 2013 5:31 pm

Yahoo Singapore take things very positively. I like their spirit. I don't understand the cynicism expressed by TOC :censored:

http://sg.news.yahoo.com/what-singapore ... 48158.html

Alan Soon is Yahoo!'s country manager for Singapore and its managing editor for Southeast Asia.

I think I'm lucky to be working in online media. Information and technology can transform lives, societies and even governments. But there are moments where these changes collide, often at the crossroads of regulation and the freedom of expression.

Yahoo! is committed to helping protect and promote free expression. We live in a world where millions of people benefit from open discussions, lively commentary and a robust exchange of ideas -- all thanks to the Internet. We believe that societies thrive when people are free to express themselves.

Regulatory scrutiny has increased in the past year around the globe as governments sought to extract accountability on the part of both Internet users and those who operate web sites. The recent licensing framework around the operation of online news sites in Singapore is no different.

So what does Singapore need?

First, when we first started our editorial operations in Singapore, we wanted to help build and engage a thriving community that was interested in the world and society around them -- to inform, entertain and educate our audience.

The web offers an incredible opportunity for open and constructive debate. But there's a flip side to this: online conversations can easily spiral into a downward circle of anger, hatred -- often targeting people of specific nationalities, religions and sexual preferences.

The licensing restrictions around hate speech are in line with our own views. Hate speech has no place online -- and definitely not on Yahoo!. We felt so strongly about this that we launched a campaign called "Silence The Hate" in August last year to drive a message of tolerance.

Even prior to the new licensing regime, Yahoo! was already bound to comply with the Media Development Authority’s Internet Code of Practice -- a key guideline that complements our own internal editorial policies around what is suitable for our audience. Further regulation is redundant. And as the past few days have shown, it creates confusion and unsettles both users, as well as the media industry that Singapore has tried so hard to cultivate.

It is important to reiterate that regulations and guidelines remain meaningful and do not become a tool that restricts freedom of expression and genuine debate. We need to preserve this fine balance and Yahoo! continues to champion this critical aspect of Internet freedom.

Second, journalism thrives on its access to multiple sources. We will be in a better position to cover stories in Singapore. In the past few years, we were restricted from government and other authoritative sources because we were not seen to be an accredited media -- that was a realm of newspapers and broadcasters. The licensing changes will help pave the way for full accreditation and access for our reporters. We will be a stronger editorial team and our stories will improve because of that.

As a network, we serve a million unique users in Singapore each day -- many of whom look to us as a platform of diverse views and a tool for self-expression.

We want to make sure that continues.

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Re: Singapore to require operating licenses for Yahoo

Postby winchester » Thu Jun 06, 2013 9:59 am

in a nutshell, this is govt attempt at censorship. yes yahoo is anti-govt sometimes while pretending to be objective, just like st is pro-pap while pretending to be objective.

next time govt want to impose similar restrictions on this forum how?

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Re: Singapore to require operating licenses for Yahoo

Postby pirate » Thu Jun 06, 2013 10:37 am

The online community have reason to be cynical. The minister may have given various verbal reassurances that they will not issue take down orders merely because an article may contain opinions critical of the govt or govt policies etc. But why not put all those nice sounding provisoes into the licensing conditions? Why rely on overbroad regulations?

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